Beginning in the early 1870′s the L plan was sometimes flipped from front to back so that the foot of the L was pointing toward the street instead of at the rear of the house. Most such houses had a porch across the long side of the ell. Many one story versions of this form were built in La Crosse, usually with clapboard siding, but most of them were veneered with brick in later years. Two story versions of the form are also present but I will discuss them in a later post.
This image of 1023 S 2nd street is from the Public Library archives. It shows an example of the flipped L plan. Instead of the kitchen wing making an L shape off the rear of the house, a gable roofed wing extends toward the street. A porch extends across the leg of the L. The porch supports are flat boards with designs made with a scroll saw.
All of the windows have shutters. Shutters were usually closed at night and latched on the inside. Many had moveable louvers so you could control the amount of air or sunlight coming into the house. During cold and windy weather the shutters helped break the force of the wind, so drafts around the sash windows was lessened.
The wing to the right contained the kitchen with a chimney for the kitchen stove. The other chimney, on the wing to the left served the stove in the parlor.
Most of these houses have been altered in later years but using the old photo as a guide we can still see many examples. Often times, different parts of similar houses are changed and by looking at different houses you can get a fairly complete image of what once existed.
There is a clump of these houses on 11th, and several others in the same area, that were probably built by the same unknown contractor. Look at 1217 S. 11th. It is one of the few houses of this type that was never veneered. Ignore the cat slide roof extension over the entrance, that was added in the 1930′s probably and imagine a one story porch across the leg of the L. The windows across the front have also been changed, but we will see other examples that have retained the original window size and spacing.
1225 S 11th shows an almost original house except the clapboard siding has been covered and the front porch has been enclosed.
420 S 9th only has two windows on the gable end facing the street. Different versions had different dimensions, making a varried street scape.
1212 S. 11th shows the same form, but reversed, with the leg of the L to the left instead of the right. Reversing and flipping the plan allowed more variety in the street scene. Painting a brick house is never a good idea
Go north a block and you can see 1112 S. 11th. It has an excellent veneer job complete with light colored limestone window sills and a limestone keystone in the flat arch above the windows.
On some versions of the type the gable end facing the street is wider, allowing for three windows instead of only two.
And there is also a set of twins for this house form.
1302 and 1304 S. 8th are the same house but with reversed plans. Of course their original porches have been enclosed.